September 12th, 2012
11:57 AM ET
We're starting to feel bad for the singers auditioning on tonight's season 2 premiere of "The X Factor," because they're already irrelevant.
Judging from the laser-focus on the pop star's arrival as a new judge, "X Factor" is now Britney's show, and everyone else is just appearing on it.
That isn't to leave out "X Factor's" other new judge, Demi Lovato, who's also a solid audience draw with scores of devoted fans. But really, this is a slightly unexpected chapter in a story shaped before Lovato's time.
Not only have we watched Britney, with her bank account full of hits and eclipsing celebrity persona, go from indomitable to loose cannon to humbled and back again, but she's also facing off against an old rival.
Just as Spears and Christina Aguilera were pitted against one another as they stretched for pop domination in the late '90s/early aughts, the two are once again facing off as judges on competing singing competitions. (We guess some things really don't change.)
So while we'll be watching to see how Lovato gels with the other "X Factor" judges, Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid, and how the foursome will interact together in comparison to the prior judges' panel, we're really here to see what Britney will bring.
The media, including "X Factor's" network, Fox, seems aware of that, with rumors spreading months ahead of the premiere that Spears was storming off the set. (In actuality, she later clarified that she was just "taking a little break.")
But judging isn't as easy as it may look, Spears said in her defense Tuesday.
“It’s a hard thing to do because you have to use constructive criticism, but you don’t want to let the fans down because usually the fans do know what they like and what they don’t like," Spears told us. Nonetheless, she said, "it’s fun.”
As for whether Spears will take the stage herself, she left room for hope: "Who knows?" she responded. "We'll see."
Cowell, meanwhile, was still raining against NBC for scheduling "The Voice" to air across three nights this week, causing the reality show to now share airtime with "X Factor's" premiere tonight at 8 p.m.
“They’ve tried to ruin the party by adding that additional night," Cowell said Tuesday. "It was a very, very deliberate move to try and stop people from watching our show. That’s why they did it, and I think it may backfire.”
Do you agree or disagree?
About this blog
Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.